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Ole Miss Review: Better, Then More of the Same

This is getting tough, folks. There’s only so much I can do to take a bad situation and find a way to make it seem like the sky isn’t falling. I’m to the point that I don’t want to think about it. I definitely don’t want to blogle about it, and I know you probably don’t want to read about it. But in the spirit of consistency and never giving up, let’s get through this quickly and as best we can without throwing things, lighting something on fire, or bursting in tears.

For whatever reason, I was unusually upbeat last week about the matchup with the Rebels. I have no real idea why. I kept hearing how Ole Miss fans were still certain they would find a way to lose to Auburn, and I guess that gave me solace. Because in the end, they were still Ole Miss, and we were still Auburn.

Even though my spirits were slightly dampened with the news of what seemed like a panic quarterback change, I still felt like history, and hopefully a decent running game, would give Auburn the win. For most of the game, I was pretty much right.

Auburn got off to a terrible start. After the offense showed semi-signs of life with a 1st-down in the first drive (progress!), the defense allowed the Rebels to run it straight down the field, and gave up a pass back to the quarterback for a touchdown. Media members furiously typed jokes relating to Auburn and Cam Newton catching a pass in Oxford just two years before. Original, witty guys they are.

Then to make it worse, there was a high/missed snap that traveled 26 yards before being jumped on by an Ole Miss lineman in the endzone. It was 14-0 before I had even eaten a hot wing. The Auburn world was on fire.

For the next quarter or so, Ole Miss became Ole Miss for a little while, and Auburn played to their strengths. They ran the ball very well, opening some nice passing opportunities. It was halfway beautiful. Two touchdowns were scored, Ole Miss was punting, and the game was tied. Things were looking good.

The next thing I know, I’m looking down to pick up a hot wing, and I hear one of the Daves yelling about an onside kick. THAT CHIZ!! HE DID IT AGAIN!!! RIVERBOAT, WHITE-SHACKETED GAMBLER!!

Auburn was playing so well that they were just toying Ole Miss. They had the crowd out of it. They had that swag. It was time to turn things around. A pass here and a pass there, and they were down inside the 20, ready to take over the game. Then something happened.

Moseley fumbled the snap, Mason ran for one yard, a five-yard penalty, and a five yard loss on a McCalebb run. They went from on the way to score and go up by a touchdown before the half to leaving Parkey with a 46-yard field goal. It’s a good thing he’s got the leg of stallion.

He made the kick, but I felt like it was nothing. So did Ole Miss. They went right down the field in 50 seconds and tied it up right before the half. That one drive, whether it was play calling or what, killed the momentum after so much was gained with that onside kick.

Even then, and even with the return of questionable play calling, Auburn hung with Ole Miss for most of the 2nd half. However, the curse of Dyer, showed up as it already has once this season.

With about five minutes to go, on 3rd-and-16, Jeff Scott took a short pass and ran up the middle. Auburn linebacker, Ashton Richardson, grabbed his waist and slung him down, but as Scott rolled over, his butt barely stayed on top of Richardson’s arm. That allowed Scott to hop up and run 40-something yards uncontested.

Look, I know it’s easy to get frustrated at something like that and yell “play to the whistle, finish the tackle, blah, blah, blah,” but 999,999 times out of 1,000,000 that is going to be a tackle. It wasn’t anything Richardson did wrong, and it wasn’t anything Scott did right. Richardson’s arm just happened to get under Scott’s butt keeping it from touching the ground.

From that point on, Auburn lost and I’m not going into it. Until then, Auburn was in the game and had control for a good part of it. The Scott play would have stopped the drive, causing the Rebels to punt, and given Auburn the ball down a touchdown with five minutes to play.

The common theme I heard from Auburn fans after the game was that we were terrible and got blown out by a team like Ole Miss. That’s just wrong. They may have won by 17, but the game was  in reach until 5 minutes to go when a fluky play happened. Yes, I agree, Auburn should never lose to Ole Miss, but didn’t most of you pick Auburn to lose to Ole Miss anyway? Why are you so mad? It’s because you knew they still could have and should have won. Don’t say they played terrible just because they got your hopes up until late in the game.

They didn’t finish. That’s the problem they’ve had all year. Is it conditioning? Is it because Coach Yox wouldn’t let me do a workout with them earlier this summer? Is it just mental? Is it youth? It might be a bit of all of those.

Either way, Auburn played better, but better still isn’t good enough. Getting better every week would be a start, but consistency has been lacking as well. That’s the small thing that gives me hope. They have the talent and they have the ability. It’s just the mental part of the game that’s keeping them back. It’s not that they are a bad team, it’s just that they are a confused, down, swag-less team.

That can return, and hopefully it will sooner than later.

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15 comments

SabanIsTheDevil 10/15/2012 at 6:36 pm

It doesn’t matter how much talent we have if we don’t have coaches who can concentrate and develop that talent.

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Keenan 10/15/2012 at 9:58 pm

You can’t jump on the bandwagon and say Chizik should be fired. Sure, he isn’t doing to we’ll this year. The 2010 season was a product of a good coaching staff and good players. People can say Cam won it all they want. The team was very special that year. Do you know how hard it was for Chizik to stay focused with all the lies that were appearing.

Our only hope is to fire Loeffler and give Chizik anther year. If he doesn’t show next year, then toss him. The competition for head coaches will be tough this year with all teams that are looking for a new one.

Oh and we need a new athletic director! War Eagle!

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vancejf 10/15/2012 at 6:43 pm

I really doubt that the swag can come back this late, but I’ll be damned if I don’t wish it to so badly I can taste it.

War eagle anyway.

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SabanIsTheDevil 10/15/2012 at 7:15 pm

Suburbs swag left with Gus and Cam. I weep for my beloved program. Chizik was a shit hire, Jay Jacobs is a shit AD and if we don’t get rid of this lot we’re going to become a shit program.

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DBAU81 10/15/2012 at 8:46 pm

We’re not a bad team? A team is only is good as it plays. Judged by that standard, we are a bad team. Granted, the talent and ability are there, at least in most positions (QB and linebacker being the notable exceptions) to do better. On the offensive side, though, this coaching staff seems clueless about how to develop that talent in a way that translates to tangible results on the field. The best thing about this awful season is that the defense is notably better, in spite of giving up some big plays and more points than we’d like. We’re more physical and getting some three-and-outs and third down stops that have been hard to come by in recent years. Without some consistency and significant improvement from the offense, however, it won’t matter.

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tiedye1 10/15/2012 at 8:57 pm

Yes, we are a bad team. Nobody wants to admit this, it it baffles me. With all due respect, I don’t think many fans have actually comprehended the fact that we are 1 – 5. One win, five losses. Granted, it’s nearly impossible for me to comprehend, because a “bad” year for Auburn is typically a 8-5, maybe 7-6 year.

Good and bad teams are determined solely on wins/losses. I recognize teams have bad years. You won’t win them all…blah blah. I accept that. But we are a bad team, statistically one of the worst in the SEC and in all of college football (offensively).

And before someone accuses me of being “negative,” please know that I still believe in Chizik and in this team, but I have accepted reality too.

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The WarBlogler 10/15/2012 at 9:03 pm

When I think of “bad team,” I think of bad players, bad coaches, bad mentality, bad attitude. We may have a few of those last ones, but we don’t have bad players, and Cam Newton or not, those coaches won a national championship.

And I think plenty of people are “admitting” that they think we have a “bad team.”

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tiedye1 10/16/2012 at 7:54 am

When I look at this team, I see the elements of a bad team that you describe: subpar coaching, poor chemistry/mentality,and, occasionally, bad attitudes (coupled with a general lack of leadership). But I’ll agree with you that we don’t have bad players…clearly we’ve recruited some of the best, and failed to optimize talent.

I’m firmly in the Scott Loeffler-must-go camp, because our play calling has been awful.

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Apollo Creed 10/16/2012 at 3:27 pm

This “team” has talented players. They have good coaches. They ARE a bad team. Unless you play out of your league, 1-5 is never a good team.

Truth be told, we haven’t been hungry since we won that belt. In 2010, we had that look in our eye. The eye of the tiger. Bama had just won an NC, and dang it, we were going to top it, no matter what. Now, players, coaches, fans, everyone wants to lean on that year. We were all satisfied with ourselves until we met Clubber Lang (that would be the SEC this year). All of a sudden our world is crashing.

If we want to get it back -the hunger, the eye of the tiger – we need to go to work. It can be done this year. Not saying it will be easy. The team needs a leader – a freshman (or freshmen) may have to fill that role. They have to start to believe they can beat the guy in front of them. Football is a game of inches. It is a game of momentum. It is a game of emotion. Right now, we are beat when we walk in the stadium (and when I say we, I mean we). Something small can change that. A spark. That’s all we need. Maybe we could create that spark? We’ve got talent, we’ve got coaches, we’ve got MONEY (now I’m Adrian), we just need the passion, the belief, the heart to push on when something goes wrong – to not quit. We need to stop being scared. That’s really why we’re lashing out, isn’t it. We’re scared. Scared of getting beat, scared of being embarrassed. A wet man isn’t scared of the rain. I see no reason for us to be scared anymore.

Perhaps it could start we us, the fans. The easiest, most cliche thing we can do is to point to play calling, the qb, the coaches, the ad – call for their jobs, clean house. That’s what anyone would do, right? Or, we could be different. We are different, aren’t we?

A house divided can not stand (Jesus taught me that). I propose we unite right now. Drop talk of coaching changes, admin changes, etc. Let’s back this “bad” team no matter what. Maybe something will change, maybe it won’t, but our division will not help. And if anyone knows Chizik, tell him to come talk to me. I’ve got some ideas. I am Apollo Creed, after all.

We all said that we were “ALL IN” back when we were winning. Did we mean it?

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Casey Waid 10/15/2012 at 9:18 pm

You left out how ole miss exerted their will on the 1st drive of the 2nd half. They drove right down the field and we couldn’t do anything about it. What this team is missing is heart. That’s the most frustrating thing to me. I can take the losing, it’s the apathy and the quitting that drive me crazy. Lock this team in a room w/ the ’98 team, and that team beats the fool out of them. The ’98 team was bad, but they had some fight in them. I don’t see it in this team. Am I wrong?

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SabanIsTheDevil 10/15/2012 at 10:53 pm

I will not be sending my donation or purchasing Season Tickets until Gene is gone. I was belittled for bitching about him when we brought him in, I maintained that in 2010 Gus did more than gene, now? Vindication. Chizik is now and always has been a mediocre coach, wake up and smell the coffee. The truth hurts, this is a shitty reality we have to live with.

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SabanIsTheDevil 10/15/2012 at 10:55 pm

The only way we as fans, alumni and boosters, can effect change is to speak with our wallets.

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paul the oracle 10/16/2012 at 11:04 am

I agree with blogle this week. I know a couple of these kids and they are upstanding indiviuals. But they are not leaders they don’t have the swag and dont inspire their teamates. They don’t have the heart/fight you need. I think its partily from the team being majority sophmores and freshmen. I loved what sammy said… saw it last year. If more sophmores and key young starters start being more vocal. We don’t have a josh bynes, zeimba, pugh, cam, nick who were vocal on the field and on the sideline and told players what to do when they screwed up and never let them get down and push harder.. We lost 37 players in 2010 all the leaders were in that bunch. Foster is a leader(lot of the d recruits look like they have the swag) sad to say but zeke pike had the personality to lead that frasier and clint lack. Wallace shows by example but might grow into a leader.

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SabanIsTheDevil 10/16/2012 at 11:37 am

No matter which way you look at it we are entirely screwed. Welcome to the Suck.

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Bethany 10/16/2012 at 12:55 pm

Hilarious how everyone wants to call Gene a good coach and then blames the players for not having heart. When Chizik’s teams lose, they lose huge, and that’s evidence of bad leadership. Chizik was nothing when he came here and he’ll leave the same.

Chizik is a “good man” who’s recruited players with character issues and has made the program a laughingstock. Just because he came here a loser doesn’t make him a “good man”. Everyone is projecting some sort of moral quality on him that’s not evident in the way his players handle themselves.

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